Military spy satellites can see car disks

Biochemical test site in the Aral Sea: Vozrozhdenie Island. Biochemical test site in the Aral Sea: Vozrozhdenie Island Military Unit 2584 Aralsk 7

A hot autumn day in the newly formed Aralkum Desert was heading towards evening. After a detailed investigation of the military town of Kantubek on the now abandoned biological weapons test site Aralsk-7 Isle of Revival or Isle of Death? My partner Kostik and I moved towards Site B, where biological weapons were tested and the consequences of their use investigated.
In general, in 1936 an expedition led by Professor Ivan Velikanov arrived on the island of Vozrozhdenie. Scientists have tried to implement a controlled spread of tularemia. But in 1937 Velikanov was arrested by the NKVD and work stopped. When the German army quickly conquered the western territories of the USSR in 1942, laboratories for testing biological weapons were evacuated from Gorodomlya Island on Lake Seliger via Kirov and Saratov to Vozrozhdenie Island in the Aral Sea. After the war, the construction of an airfield, a military unit and laboratory buildings began on this largest island in the Aral Sea. This was the time of the birth of the Aralsk-7 test site. This military-biological complex was given this name in 1952.
I dreamed of researching this object (in the language of stalkers, "shake") for more than a year. And so I walk up to him and enter the area as it should be for a stalker - through a gap in the fence. The double barbed wire fence that was once heavily guarded has now overturned in many places. The wind rustles in the bushes, and this rustling is very similar to the rustling of car tires on a concrete slab road. Again we sneak like bandits through the bushes and look around at every sound. I walk past the ruins of barracks and stables. My partner is way ahead and we are visible in open space, like in the palm of your hand. Back in town, the big camera ran out of battery and only GOPR0 was left for filming. The tongue goes numb with fear, but I have to put my will into a fist and still say something to the viewers of my channel so that they will see a video somewhere by the New Year that has no analogue on Youtube on the subject.
youtube.com/watch?v\u003ddU8bk6rGf ...
Fear and tension sometimes confuse and trip me. Parallel to the filming, I'm wondering where my second partner went. What he accepted (caught, imprisoned)? Are there people on the island besides us? If not, where did he go? Lost? Fell, broke his leg and can't walk? Generally solid questions ...
According to unverified data from the Internet, during the first years of the existence of the test site during the reign of Stalin, female prisoners lived in the barracks and experiments with biological weapons were carried out on them. I read on the Internet that there are supposedly examination rooms in the laboratory with broken gynecological chairs. Well ... there's not much left - let's see ... There were stables behind the barracks. Horses were kept that also took part in experiments (excursions). They also made a nutrient medium for bacteria to grow - agar - from their blood. Those who served at the test site and those who entered Site B called it liquid meat. An entire stud farm was set up on the Kulandy Peninsula to breed horses for the needs of the training ground. The stud is still working. Now it is privately owned and steppe horses are bred there for equestrian and farming in Kazakhstan and not for senseless murder as it was under Soviet rule. And that's good news. In my previous videos of the project "In the footsteps of Alexei Butakov's expedition" you can see these beautiful, noble animals. You don't have to be a man or an animal, just some kind of monster to coolly destroy this beauty "for scientific purposes". What kind of people were working in this lab that the main building I am approaching? How do you live today after such activities? Thoughts swarm in my head like swarms of insects near a street lamp on a summer night. There is no room for fear and panic in the brain tired of questions. Well, here it is at last: PNIL's 70th Corps



It contained animals infected during biological weapon tests. They worked here with guinea pigs, mice, rabbits and monkeys. In the last few years of work at the proving site, tests were mostly done on monkeys while my partner was doing military service. We never saved money on defense, and they bought monkeys for foreign currency and brought them here by plane - only to Barkhan airfield, where we didn't dare to do each other for the first half of the day. There were empty shelves in the country's stores and the most ordinary food had to be sourced (in orders, queues, etc.), and the Department of Defense bought monkeys for hundreds of thousands of dollars to kill in this gloomy building.

Building 70 has three floors. In the basement there are all kinds of office space for laboratory staff: instrumentation, disinfection room,

to wash

with autoclaves for disinfecting medical utensils,

showers, toilets, etc.
Each floor along the entire length of the building is cut through by a long, wide corridor.

The floors are connected by two flights of stairs at different ends of the building


and a freight elevator, on which the corpses of animals were lowered into special barrels, loaded these barrels into a car and brought them to the tomb behind the 70th building.
On the first floor there were rooms in which the infected animals were kept.

Here they were observed, the course of the disease in vaccinated and unvaccinated animals was compared, some were treated, some were not, and the results and rate of progression of the disease were observed under different conditions. In the laboratory, the animals were analyzed and various medical and biological factors were examined. In general science! ...

The second floor is the most interesting. The spacious filter room is immediately noticeable.

They were hit by ventilation pipes from the entire fuselage. The air flowed through them and had already been freed of deadly loads and removed to the outside through the pipes in the roof of the building.
There is also a safety area where particularly dangerous work has been carried out with contaminated biomaterial.

In this incubator, they worked with ordnance and possibly opened the corpses of infected animals. In general, they did something particularly serious - a large door with pressure valves and sensors

and several airlock chambers separated by now sawn pressure doors you have to go through to get into this eerie room

Only in exceptional cases were conscripts not allowed into the 70th Corps, mainly to repair equipment. You are particularly grateful to your comments and explanations on such an unknown matter as biological weapons testing. I came across a couple of other interesting rooms on the second floor. This is a central autoclave where animal corpses were sterilized before special barrels were filled with them.

and a room with petri dish incubators in which bacteria multiplied in the agar and in which their presence or absence in a given environment was detected.

This is what anthrax spores, a particularly antibiotic-resistant anthrax strain, look like under the microscope.

Due to the negligence of the staff, these "cute" microscopic creatures made their way into the atmosphere of the city of Sverdlovsk in 1979, causing an epidemic of a particularly severe form of anthrax that killed more than a hundred people. Now the Sverdlovsk-19 facility is partially abandoned, and my next dream is to get into the hangars where biological weapons were made and stored. From this military medical complex on behalf of M. Gorbachev to the island of Vozrozhdenie in 1988 to avoid a scandal with the Americans who came in Sverdlovsk to review the implementation of agreements on the reduction and destruction of various types of weapons, containers with anthrax spores were after brought to Uzbekistan and buried somewhere on the island of Vozrozhdenie.
The cellar of the 70th building is no less interesting. Here, the entire sewage system of the 70th building was disinfected in large containers at high temperature and high pressure. Everything was poured into these containers

23 years ago, Russian President Boris Yeltsin closed one of the most secret military facilities in the Soviet Union by decree. It was located in an extremely remote and sparsely populated region of what was then a huge country - on an island in the center of the Aral Sea that is still referred to as the Revival Island.

It is known that this test site has been used to conduct experiments to create, manufacture and test one of the most barbaric types of weapons of mass destruction - biological weapons. And now there is no longer the Aral Sea, the island has also disappeared and turned into part of the desert on the mainland. For all those 23 years, the test site has lived its own strange life as a ghost.

Kazakh journalist and blogger Grigory Bedenko He shared with our editors unique materials from his archives that could somehow explain the phenomenon of the "Aralsk-7" object.


One of the most famous pictures polygon on the island of Vozrozhdeniye, manufactured by the American KH-9 HEXAGON reconnaissance satellite at the height of the Cold War.


That was the Aral Sea in the 1960s. The red arrow points to the island of rebirth. Then its area was 260 square kilometers, the island was isolated from inhabited places by tens of kilometers of water surface and a very rough deserted desert. Interestingly, the island was discovered outstanding Russian geographer Nikolai Butakov1848 and named it after Emperor Nicholas the First... The modern name of this place appeared a little later. The most secret Soviet training area was located there.


And this is what the Aral Sea looks like now. There is practically no more water, no islands. The white line marks the state border between the Republic of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.


There is only a small strait between the former island of Vozrozhdenie in the south and the Kulandy Peninsula in the north, where the Kazakh Aul of the same name is located today. But already at the beginning of the 2000s it was necessary to sail at least 3 hours by boat from Kulanda to the training ground and then sail another 60 km by car. More on that later.


Large water remained only in the northern Aral, which was transformed into an autonomous body of water thanks to the construction of the Kok Aral dam. This was done to revive fishing in the Kazakh part of the Aral Sea. But it was also the final judgment about the sea.


Now comes the fun part. Polygon "Aralsk-7" or the village of Kantubek, as it was called on all cards, is here (represented by an arrow).


The polygon can be recognized by the so-called "star" on images from space. This is a unique field airfield that consists of 4 concrete strips. The creation of such a special design was determined by the very changeable winds on the island. Those. A transport plane could land here in almost any weather condition.


The polygon consisted of three main zones: 1 - airfield; 2 - residential area; and at a considerable distance from these objects, absolutely closed - laboratory zone 3. A few kilometers from the landfill was a pier where ships and barges came with cargoes necessary for the life of the landfill.


This picture shows that the concrete slabs have been removed from all four airfield lanes.


Some panels are neatly stacked on the side. These are already traces of the work of the looters. After the military left the training area, it was actually left abandoned and unprotected, which was used by the local population and the criminals. The polygon was robbed from the mid-90s to the early 2000s and the most valuable was taken from there. And there was a lot of value ...


Administrative and residential area of ​​the landfill. Almost half of all buildings are where they always were. Some buildings are half destroyed, others completely destroyed.


1 - Soldiers' barracks and headquarters of the training area. 2 - residential area, multi-story buildings for civil servants and their families.


Boiler room of the landfill. The laboratory complex required a lot of steam - autoclaves were working to sterilize the equipment. And this despite the fact that there were no sources of drinking water on the island, it was brought by special barges and then brought to the landfill through a special pipeline. It was made from alloys that did not corrode. Subsequently, all pipes were removed from the island by looters.


Partially destroyed laboratory area. It was two kilometers from the administration office and was completely isolated by several rows of barbed wire.


Three-story building of the main laboratory. It was here that the most important and dangerous experiments related to biological weapons were carried out.

And now we offer your attention a unique video captured during my visit to the landfill in 2001... All of the above items have been lifted off the ground. From this it can be concluded that almost nothing has changed at the test site for 14 years. Operator Khasen Omarkulov.

In general, you can find a lot of information about the Renaissance Island on the network. Everything is scattered, however, and due to the complete lack of official data, the ghost landfill has been overgrown with a myriad of speculations of all kinds, sometimes the most incredible. So I would first like to comment on what we shot. I apologize for the not very good quality of the screenshots from the video, however it should be noted that it is unique. The internal structure of the main laboratory complex is filmed here in detail. Perhaps this will somehow provide information about what work was carried out on the landfill.


So the path to the practice site begins on the former Kulandy peninsula, where there is a large aul and a horse farm, which is quite large for these forgotten places. Camels are also bred here.


It is known that the main experiments with weapons of mass destruction were carried out on horses. And these horses were taken to the landfill by the Kulandy horse farm.


And this is the island of the Renaissance itself - a marina for ships and barges that delivers all kinds of cargo and fresh water here.


After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the landfill became the "property" of two new independent states: the pier on the island and the "Chaika" support base not far from Aralsk (now there is nothing left of it - the local residents smashed it stone by stone) went to Kazakhstan. The airfield, administrative and laboratory areas of the test site became part of the territory of Uzbekistan.

In fact, our looters operated with impunity on the territory of a neighboring country. The landfill was nearly 10 years old, beginning in 1992 when the staff was evacuated from there and was not guarded by anyone.


By the way, we got there after agreeing to the "foreman" of the local stalkers. There was only one condition - not to remove it. Two teams dismantled the landfill structures - one worked on the island, the second got construction materials, pipes, diesel fuel and other useful things out towards Aralsk. Local fishermen in their old motor boats transported all of this across the strait. In 2001 it took about three hours to sail on it. The island was connected to the mainland sometime in 2009. The stalkers had at least two highly passable trucks - a three-axle Ural on Kulandy and an old GAZ-66 abandoned by the military on the island. Its stalkers got it back in working order by bringing spare parts to the island.


The range was covered by military boats.


Project T-368 patrol boat with serial number 79 was built in 1973. This is one of the modifications of the Soviet torpedo boats. Enterprise G-4306 - Sosnovsky Shipyard. Located in the town of Sosnovka, Kirov region in the Russian Federation. The facility is located on the bank of the Vyatka River, a tributary of the Volga. Apparently the boat came to the Aral Sea by train from one of the Caspian ports.


And on these self-propelled barges, fresh water was delivered to the island of Vozrozhdenie.


Landfill administrative zone.


A mysterious room with a very complex air intake and ventilation system. It can be assumed that there were powerful diesel generators here. Apparently they provided energy for the landfill.


Alley with street lighting in the administrative area.


The remains of a powerful compressor.


The building was built in 1963.


It was an officers' club and a part-time cinema. In general, the history of the test site began in the distant 30s, when an expedition led by the famous Russian bacteriologist Ivan Velikanov landed on the island of Vozrozhdenie. His job was to investigate the possibility of using the bubonic plague as a means of destroying enemy personnel. As a result, the Japanese invaders were very successful in China and carried out absolutely monstrous experiments on the people there. Professor Velikanov was arrested by the NKVD in 1937 and restricted to work until the beginning of the Cold War. So there are, so to speak, several cultural layers at the test site.


Polygon connection nodes.


There was a military hospital and polyclinic on the island of Vozrozhdeniye.


Arch at the entrance to the landfill residential area.


A two-story kindergarten building. Military microbiologists lived on Renaissance Island with their wives and children.


The residential area of ​​the landfill consists of massive silica brick houses. They are best preserved.


View of the administrative area from the roof of a residential building. The soldiers' barracks and the main building are visible.


The administrative zone also consisted of the same type of single-story panel houses.


Apparently, biological weapons research peaked in the late 1970s and early 1980s. At that time, the number of military specialists and their family members who, according to various estimates, lived permanently on the Renaissance island reached 1500 people. The most comfortable environment for this time and under these conditions was created for these people. You were in a very ambiguous position. First, the Soviet Union joined the so-called Nixon Pact in 1972. This international document prohibited the research, development and testing of all types of weapons of mass destruction based on biological weapons. However, the research was carried out in secret in both the United States and the USSR.


The stool remained on the balcony of the officer's apartment. The 92nd year the landfill was closed by presidential decree has been a real disaster for the people who worked on the island. The evacuation of staff went so quickly that the military threw all large items into their apartments - furniture, TVs, washing machines, refrigerators, etc. It is likely that people were promised a quick return to the island, which never happened.And everything most valuable went to the looters. In addition to the personal items of the military, stores for fuel and lubricants, vehicles and much more were abandoned on the site. True, as they say, stalkers, food supplies turned out to be unsuitable for consumption as they were covered with chlorine and filled with lysol. Before leaving the test site, the military carried out a large-scale disinfection of all facilities.


And these are the dungeons of the main laboratory complex. There were powerful autoclaves for heat treatment of equipment.


Everything was washed and washed in ordinary cast iron bathtubs, except for two taps with cold and hot water, but a third was connected to a disinfectant.


These ominous structures are called "jet chambers". The principle was as follows: the room was divided into two parts - "dirty" and "clean". Both could only be reached through a sanitary inspection room with a disinfection shower. A closure was opened in one part of the chamber and a cage with a test animal was wound up there along special guides. Then the closure was closed and the animal was infected with a biological agent in the form of an aerosol. Then the specialists took the cage from the "dirty" side and then monitored the course of the disease.


"Explosion chambers" are located on the second floor of the complex in a completely isolated room with sealed doors.


And this room is a "stone pocket" - three sanitary control rooms lead to a room without a window.


There is a type 5 K-NZh camera, number 254, made in 1974. Such devices are used to work with radioactive materials. The specialists from "Aralsk-7" apparently adapted it for biological experiments.


Materials for experiments were fed into the chamber through this shutter.


Biohazard sign on the airtight door on the second floor.


The packaging of biological agents was most likely carried out in these cabinets. For example, it could be a vaccine against a particularly dangerous infection.


And that is perhaps the most interesting picture! On the door of another "stone bag" it says: "Dangerous! T - 37, T +27". Experts say that a temperature of minus 37 degrees Celsius is optimal for storing bubonic plague strains and plus 27 for anthrax or anthrax spores. This is, to some extent, an explanation of what exactly they were working with at the test site. The graffiti in the upper left corner of the door is already a new "cultural layer". The stalkers left him.


The military got out of range so quickly that they didn't even have time to "cover their tracks" and left signs with the names and initials of those responsible for this or that area.


Officer A. V. Mironin was in charge of the male hygiene inspection.


And for the dangerous stove No. 6 VP Dushaev. One can only guess what was burned in this furnace.


And here is another strange inscription. Conscripts also worked in the laboratory. They are now 46 years old. Probably they could tell a lot about this place, but apparently they are under an almost lifelong non-disclosure agreement.


The space for experiments - a thick window like in a nuclear power plant, a centrifuge, a bathtub and a steel box of unknown purpose with a strong lock. Everything is painted in an unpleasant protective color.


This is what the main laboratory complex looks like from the inside ...


... but like this - outside ...

What else do we know about this mysterious place?

From the 95th to the 98th, an American reconnaissance mission visited Renaissance Island to collect the maximum amount of data and samples from the test site. The American side made 6 million dollars available to the Uzbek authorities for this purpose.

But perhaps the most reliable information was published by the famous microbiologist Kanatzhan Baizakovich Alibekov, better known as Ken Alibek.

The biography of this man is really legendary. He was born in 1950 in the village of Kauchuk in the Kazakh SSR. In 1975 he graduated from the Military Faculty of Tomsk Medical Institute with a degree in infectious diseases and immunology. Since 1975 he has been involved in the military biotechnological complex "Biopreparat" of the Council of Ministers of the SSR in Stepnogorsk with the development and testing of biological weapons. From 1988 to 1992 he was first deputy head of the main directorate of Biopreparat. He was the scientific director of biological weapons development and biosecurity programs. Specialist in the fields of immunology, biotechnology, biochemical synthesis and acute and chronic infectious diseases.

He is also a retired colonel in the Soviet Army. In early 1992, Ken Alibek resigned from management for refusing to continue military biological research and immigrated to the United States that same year. In 1999 he published a book called Biohazard (co-authored by well-known North American journalist Stephen Hendelman). The book has been published in many languages ​​around the world, and the Russian edition of Biohazard was published in 2003 under the title “Attention! Biological weapons! ".

Ken Alibek's personality is constantly debated: in the United States and Europe, he is considered to be one of the most outstanding people who stopped the biological arms race (from 2000 to 2006, according to the Air Force, he was on the list of outstanding historical figures), and in the Military circles in the USSR considered him a traitor who revealed the preparation of the USSR for biological warfare. He is one of the most active opponents of the use of microorganisms as a method of war.

In 2010 he moved to Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. He currently heads the Department of Chemistry and Biology at the Faculty of Science and Technology at Nazarbayev University, where, among other things, he is involved in the development of cancer drugs and drugs to prolong life. He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Republican Scientific Center for Emergency Medical Care. Retention of US citizenship.

Back in the US, I interviewed Kanatzhan Baizakovich, and that's what he said about the Renaissance island

GB: The West used to actively discuss the successes of the Soviet Union in creating biological weapons. What is the general opinion in the US now.

K.A .: The Soviet Union had the most powerful biological weapons program in the world. I don't think this could be a matter of particular pride, but the country had scientists who were able to develop technologies for making biological weapons with tremendous power. The first samples were tested in the late 1930s. A remote, abandoned resuscitation island in the Aral Sea was selected for this. Here the first samples of biological weapons based on tularemia, glands, plague and anthrax were tested. The island of Vozrozhdenie was the main training ground for the Soviet biological weapons program for several decades. And this weapon was made in Stepnogorsk, not far from what is now Kazakhstan's capital, Astana. The organization was called Biopreparat. From 1983 to 1987 I was the director of this complex. My job was to develop a new version of an anthrax-based weapon. It was performed in 1987. There was only one department interested in this task - the Department of Defense. Now, Russia, most likely, does not have a developed biological weapons program.

GB: Combat Anthrax was made almost on an industrial scale. Where did all the supplies go?

N / A: By 1990, the Soviet Union had produced around 200 tons of an anthrax-based combat agent. It was developed in Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg - GB). There was an institute for technical and technical problems of protection from biological weapons, which was dismantled at the end of the 80s on the orders of Lieutenant General Lebedinsky. At that time he was head of the 15th division of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR. The reason for the dismantling was a scandal due to the anthrax outbreak in Sverdlovsk in 1979 (we are talking about a disaster in the above institute when, due to a mistake by the operator of the drying cabinet who incorrectly installed the air filter, a deadly amount of anthrax spores was in As a result, according to various sources, 70 to 100 people died of the disease in Sverdlovsk. - GB) The US and UK were under severe pressure. Initially, all biological weapons were transported to the Zima railway station in the Lake Baikal area. There was a special storage facility for biological weapons. It didn't take long there, for some reason an order was given to destroy all anthrax reserves. In 1989, a special group of officers from the 15th Directorate of the Ministry of Defense was formed. As far as I know, this work was directed by Major General Valentin Ivanovich Evstigneev. Anthrax in special containers was delivered from there to the city of Aralsk - to the island of Vozrozhdenie. There were a large number of containers (they were called TR-250). Each contained 250 kg of anthrax formulation. The bacteria were inactivated and buried. However, anthrax has one property: it cannot be 100% destroyed in this way. And, of course, if you do an analysis on grave sites, anthrax spores will be discovered in quite a large amount.

GB: How dangerous is it now?

K.A .: It makes no sense to say that anthrax can cause epidemics in Kazakhstan. And therefore. By and large, there are many places in Kazakhstan that are infected with anthrax. They can be found in any burial site with the remains of animals that died from the disease ten, twenty, and even fifty years ago. And there is no need to disinfect these burial sites: c the pores of the anthrax, when in the ground, cannot fly in the air, form aerosols and fly hundreds of kilometers. If the burial sites are not disturbed, the chances of infection are therefore very low. But one detail about the island worries you. If this lake dries up and there is a risk that the island of Vozrozhdenie will join the mainland, anthrax epidemics can occur among saiga herds. This is the greatest danger. However, if people don't go to the island, the likelihood of a major anthrax epidemic is unrealistic.

GB: But people can get there with a very specific purpose - to find those burial sites and take possession of deadly bio-agents.

K.A .: There are countries and there are organizations that are theoretically interested in it.


And here is the subject of the interview itself. Anthrax Combat Agent created by Ken Alibek's team. In order to get sick, a person needs to inhale a certain amount of anthrax spores. As a biological weapon, anthrax bacilli are glued to the wool of a fine fleece sheep in the laboratory and then dried using a special technology. After inhaling such hair, a person is guaranteed to get anthrax.

And a little more information about the landfill. In 2002-2003, a group of specialists from the Kazakh Scientific Center for Quarantine and Zoonotic Infections (which, incidentally, is under the auspices of the United States) landed on the island of Vozrozhdenie to look for anthrax burials. However, the results of the expedition were immediately classified. Some type of work was most likely carried out there until 2008, when Uzbekistan, again with American money and under sensitive American leadership, allegedly searched for oil and gas deposits in the island's area. Similar surveys were carried out by the Kazakh side. When nothing was found there, the topic was closed.

According to reports, the work was not related to oil and gas, but specifically to the removal of anthrax burials. However, no one can confirm or deny this. Authorities have closed everything again, and getting some information from Uzbekistan can be about as successful as expecting North Korea's missile program to be made public.

At some point in 2010, information went through the media that the graves had been destroyed. But even here it was not confirmed by anyone. Well, finally, there was also information that Kazakh specialists would monitor the former landfill until 2014. At the same time, measures appear to have been taken to eliminate stalking on the Renaissance Island. Today there is an outpost on the border in Aralsk, and the local prosecutor's office has also joined the case. Apparently the Uzbek side did the same.

There is some kind of understatement in this whole story, however. And the events of the last decade confirm this.

2003 year year. The SARS epidemic is literally killing people in China. Several thousand people die from this mysterious disease, for which there is no vaccine or medicine, in different countries around the world. Scientists (at the official level) have racked their brains as to why a harmless coronavirus that does not infect humans has become so aggressive towards this biological species. Unofficially, it was about biological weapons: the coronavirus went through a process of genetic modification. A piece of DNA was inserted, a very dangerous disease for adults - measles. And what is interesting, the children did not get sick with atypical pneumonia. As a result, the virus disappeared as mysteriously as it appeared. Furthermore, without any consequences. Let us now remember the greatest world event in 2003 - the US invasion of Iraq aimed at overthrowing Saddam Hussein's regime. And all over the world, thousands of anti-war actions took place on the streets of cities. Just a coincidence?


2007th year. Another viral disease epidemic that cannot be defended against is avian flu. The most aggressive was the H5N1 strain. And here it turns out by a wonderful coincidence that the only effective means of combating the infection is the world's only pharmaceutical company, the Swiss F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Ltd. - This is a drug called oseltamivir, branded Tamiflu. His income grows to astronomical amounts within a few months.


And finally in 2014. In the southwestern region of Africa, hundreds of people with Ebola hemorrhagic fever are mowed every day. Incidentally, it got its name in honor of the Ebola River that flows in Zaire. It was there that the virus was identified for the first time, which, while considered dangerous, is not enough to pose a global threat.What did the US and Russia do first? They sent their military microbiologists to the affected countries to study the consequences of the disease or maybe something else ...

It is believed that no one in the world today designs or manufactures biological weapons. But is it really like that? "The 20th century was the century of atomic energy," say scientists, "and the 21st century is the century of biology." And the gloomy ruins of the most secret training site, which still stand in the wild, waterless and windy Aral desert, are a reminder of this.

This report uses materials from Wikipedia and the Google Maps project.

Photo gallery




















23 years ago, Russian President Boris Yeltsin closed one of the most secret military facilities in the Soviet Union by decree. It was located in an extremely remote and sparsely populated region of what was then a huge country - on an island in the center of the Aral Sea that is still referred to as the Revival Island.

It is known that this test site was used to conduct experiments in the creation, manufacture and testing of one of the most barbaric types of weapons of mass destruction - biological weapons. And now the Aral Sea no longer exists, the island has also disappeared and turned into part of the continental desert. For all those 23 years, the test site has lived its own strange life as a ghost.

Kazakh journalist and blogger Grigory Bedenko published unique materials from his archives that could somehow explain the phenomenon of the "Aralsk-7" object.

Let's take a look ...

One of the most famous images of the test site on Vozrozhdenie Island, taken by the American KH-9 HEXAGON reconnaissance satellite during the height of the Cold War.

The idea of ​​creating a scientific center for the development of biological weapons in the USSR arose as early as the 1920s. Even then, the military began to think big and flirt with weapons of mass destruction. In 1915, the 4th German Army used chlorine syringes from cylinders for the first time in the area of ​​the city of Ypres. Bacteriological weapons had a much older history - for example, plague corpses were thrown over the walls of besieged cities in ancient times to spark an epidemic among defenders. And an attempt to change the world with the help of cholera in 1894. H. G. Wells described "The Stolen Bacillus" in the story.

The science center needed a location that was sufficiently remote and isolated from other settlements. On the one hand, these are the requirements for secrecy and, on the other hand, security. An island would be ideal. Three "candidates" were selected: one of the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea, Gorodomlya Island on Lake Seliger and Vozrozhdenie Island in the Aral Sea. We stopped in Gorodoml. Between 1936 and 1941, the main Soviet center for the development of biological weapons was located here - the 3rd test laboratory, which was subordinate to the Directorate for Military Chemicals of the Red Army. Before that she occupied one of the Suzdal monasteries.

After the Great Patriotic War, it became clear that such institutions should be as far from the border as possible. The next location for the bacteriological laboratory was the island of Vozrozhdenie, formerly Nikolai.

That was the Aral Sea in the 1960s. The red arrow points to the island of rebirth. Then its area was 260 square kilometers, the island was isolated from inhabited places by tens of kilometers of water surface and a very rough deserted desert. Interestingly, the island was discovered in 1848 by the eminent Russian geographer Nikolai Butakov and named in honor of Emperor Nicholas the First. The modern name of this place appeared a little later. The most secret Soviet training area was located there.

Nikolay this island with an area of ​​about 200 square meters. Kilometer was named after the emperor. It opened in 1848 along with two other islands - the Heir and Constantine. For some unknown reason, the archipelago was called Tsarskoye. Before the revolution, local residents and industrialists were busy fishing, hunting, salt mining, exporting from Saxaul to the mainland, etc. After 1917, this entire economy was nationalized and completely ruined by collective farming practices. The island's population has been reduced to 4-5 Kazakh families, the infrastructure - to several buildings.

In 1924 the people arrived - a regional isolation ward for special purposes was set up on the island of Vozrozhdeniye, where 45 prisoners convicted of robbery and banditry were serving their sentences. According to the report from the head of the isolation department, the island is suitable for both fishing and ranching as the soil is good for grazing.

And this is what the Aral Sea looks like now. There is practically no more water, no islands. The white line marks the state border between the Republic of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

The special isolation station was liquidated in 1926. Instead, an edge isolator was opened for 400 prisoners. However, it was also closed in 1929-1930.No cryptic reasons. It was just that the flywheel of the Soviet repressive machine accelerated, the number of prisoners increased, and this required the creation of detention centers in a different format.

In 1936, an expedition of military biologists led by the father of the Soviet bacteriological program, Professor Ivan Velikanov, landed on the island of Vozrozhdenie. Researchers have tested bioagents based on tularemia, cholera, and plague. Further development was suspended due to repression. Professor Velikanov was shot dead in 1938.

Then the what began. The test laboratory was evacuated from Gorodomlya Island, first to Kirov, then to Saratov, and finally to Vozrozhdenie Island. The Barkhan biochemical test site - the 52nd field research laboratory (PNIL-52) - of the 04061 military unit has been in operation here since 1942. Then a military town Kantubek with the official name Aralsk-7 was built in the northern part of the iceland.

There is only a small strait between the former island of Vozrozhdenie in the south and the Kulandy Peninsula in the north, where the Kazakh Aul of the same name is located today. But already at the beginning of the 2000s it was necessary to sail at least 3 hours by boat from Kulanda to the training ground and then sail another 60 km by car. More on that later.

The test site occupied the southern part of the island. The tests consisted of detonating grenades and spray logs from an airplane developed based on anthrax, plague, brucellosis, tularemia, Q fever, glands and other deadly infections. The logs were made in the plants of the defense complex in Sverdlovsk, Kirov, Zagorsk, Stufnogorsk.

In the planned affected area, conscripts arranged cages with laboratory animals or tied them to stakes. "Vacuum cleaners" were installed nearby - special devices with tube filters that allowed bacteria to concentrate in one place or another. After spraying, the same soldiers in chemical protective suits collected the animals and sent them to the laboratory. All of this was very similar to the procedure tests of the "dirty bomb" on the islands of Lake Ladoga.

This is how the test on the island of Vozrozhdeniye is described in the book by Ken Alibek, the former scientific director of biological weapons and biosecurity programs in the USSR, and the initiator of the elimination of these programs, Ken Alibek: “Be careful! Biological weapons! ":" On a cloudy, windy island near the shores of the Aral Sea, about a hundred monkeys are sitting, tied to pillars that extend in long parallel rows almost to the horizon. A dull bang breaks the silence and a thick cloud of mustard-colored smoke appears at the point of explosion. When they see him, the animals start shrieking in shock and storm around, pulling on the lines that hold them. The monkeys try to escape by covering their heads and hiding their noses and mouths. But the animals are doomed: soon they will die. "

The monkeys were chosen because their respiratory organs are most similar to human ones. The monkeys to Aralsk-7 were delivered from the Sukhumi nursery, but for some experiments it was necessary to take animals abroad. In the 1980s, 500 monkeys were bought from Africa through a network of front-line firms and shipped to Vozrozhdenie Island through the USSR's foreign trade. They tested the Anthrax-836 anthrax strain and specially bred "fighting" plague bacteria. By their death, the animals have proven that the evolved tribes are able to "penetrate" the defenses of a potential enemy. It is estimated that spraying 100 kilograms of anthrax spores in densely populated urban areas could kill around 3 million people.

The tests were also carried out on rabbits, sheep and horses. They were specially grown for "laboratory needs" on the nearby Kulandy Peninsula.

Large water remained only in the northern Aral, which was transformed into an autonomous body of water thanks to the construction of the Kok Aral dam. This was done to revive fishing in the Kazakh part of the Aral Sea. But it was also the final judgment about the sea.

There is evidence that the matter was not limited to animal testing. This idea is suggested by the strange-looking barracks that adjoined the laboratory, which is a few kilometers from Aralsk-7.

"The laboratory building and the adjacent barracks are unusual and mysterious," writes the Trud correspondent. Tashkent "Valery Biryukov in the article" Secrets of the Island of the Renaissance "(" Trud ", October 25, 2001) - Judging by the well-preserved inscriptions and tablets, women lived in the other barracks. Judging by the conditions of detention , they were most likely prisoners In the laboratory building itself, several rooms, similar to examination rooms, are equipped with gynecological chairs. The room next to them has only one hermetically sealed door. A stainless steel pipe is lowered from the ceiling, about one meter from the floor. There are several in another room Dozen of beautifully executed male and female mannequins with flexible arms and legs have been preserved. An extensive biology library and a huge warehouse with bottles of all kinds and special items have been preserved. The iron Doors to most of the cellars are welded and have not been opened this day. Everywhere safes are more diverse scattered size.

... There is a strange boiler house-like facility between the village and the laboratory building, but there are no boilers there. Three pipes painted in different colors extend from the tanks to the laboratory building. Strange, but in forty-four years of existence the secret garrison has not acquired its own cemetery. A crematorium operated here. "

Now comes the fun part. Here is the polygon "Aralsk-7" or the village of Kantubek, as it was called on all maps (represented by an arrow).

Terrible things happened on the test site and in the laboratory, and the city of Aralsk-7 lived or slept peacefully at that time. It was no different from other closed Soviet cities: a dozen residential buildings, a canteen, a club, shops, a stadium, a barracks, a parade ground, and a power station. The population of Aralsk-7 reached 1500 people - military, scientists, other specialists and their families. Children went to school, their parents went to work. The soldiers trained on the parade ground. In the evenings, films were shown in the officers' house and on weekends picnics were held on the banks of the Aral Sea.

The island was connected to the "mainland" by sea and air traffic. Fresh water, food and equipment were delivered here by barge. The runway, which was equipped in 1949, later became Barkhan Airfield. This structure, unique in the USSR, had four runways. The choice of one or the other strip was determined depending on which wind was blowing. The island of Vozrozhdenie was characterized by strong winds.

The local wind rose, by the way, served as protection for Aralsk-7 from a biological threat. The location of the test site was chosen so that the wind immediately carried the aerosol cloud formed as a result of the test in the direction opposite to the military town. There was one case in 1972 in which two fishermen fell into a plague cloud due to a sudden gust of wind. Both died.

In addition, mandatory anti-epidemic measures and decontamination of the territory were carried out at the landfill. All test participants were quarantined. The hot climate served as additional insurance. Most bacteria and viruses could not withstand prolonged exposure to local temperatures. Therefore, tests were usually done in the late afternoon. A layer of cold air covering the warmed-up ground held bacteria in place, reducing the risk of infection outside the landfill.

The protection of the top secret island from prying eyes was provided by military boats and patrol cars on land, which sail the sea continuously. The laboratory building and the landfill were surrounded by several rows of barbed wire.

The polygon can be recognized by the so-called "star" on images from space. This is a unique field airfield that consists of 4 concrete strips. The creation of such a special design was determined by the very changeable winds on the island. Those. A transport plane could land here in almost any weather condition.

In the truest sense of the word, Aralsk-7 was closed in 1992. On the one hand, it has become more and more difficult to maintain secrecy. As a result of the ecological catastrophe, the Aral Sea quickly became shallower, and in the 1990s the area of ​​the island of Vozrozhdenie increased by almost ten times. It has become more and more difficult to protect such a large area.

Another more serious reason is the collapse of the USSR. In 1990, Ken Alibek, whom we have already mentioned, presented the country's president, Mikhail Gorbachev, with a note proposing that the biological weapons program be closed. Gorbachev agreed and liquidation began. It took place in 1990-1991.

The population was evacuated within a few weeks. People left Aralsk-7 with the most important things, leaving furniture and even the main asset of that time - color TVs. The equipment has also been abandoned - brand new trucks and tractors, spare parts for them, and laboratory equipment. Only the most valuable was removed from the device. Dangerous logs were either destroyed or kept in tombs.

For some time, Aralsk-7 was empty. Then the looters were drawn in.

In 1998 ecologists, epidemiologists and geologists visited the island of Vozrozhdenie. American specialists were among the epidemiologists. The general conclusion was that this place posed no bacteriological or environmental threat. Today the Renaissance island has become a peninsula. The former secret city is in ruins. Nothing of value is left here. But who knows what is being stored underground here. The military is reluctant to share its secrets.

The polygon consisted of three main zones: 1 - airfield; 2 - residential area; and at a considerable distance from these objects, absolutely closed - laboratory zone 3. A few kilometers from the landfill was a pier where ships and barges came with cargoes necessary for the life of the landfill.

This picture shows that the concrete slabs have been removed from all four airfield lanes.

Some panels are neatly stacked on the side. These are already traces of the work of the looters. After the military left the training area, it was actually left abandoned and unprotected, which was used by the local population and the criminals. From the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, the landfill was robbed and the most valuable one removed from there. And there was a lot of value ...

Administrative and residential area of ​​the landfill. Almost half of all buildings are where they always were. Some buildings are half destroyed, others completely destroyed.

1 - Soldiers' barracks and headquarters of the training area. 2 - residential area, multi-story buildings for civil servants and their families.

Boiler room of the landfill. The laboratory complex required a lot of steam - autoclaves were working to sterilize the equipment. And this despite the fact that there were no sources of drinking water on the island, it was brought by special barges and then brought to the landfill through a special pipeline. It was made from alloys that did not corrode. Subsequently, all pipes were removed from the island by looters.

Partially destroyed laboratory area. It was two kilometers from the administration office and was completely isolated by several rows of barbed wire

Main laboratory building on three floors. It was here that the most important and dangerous experiments related to biological weapons were carried out.

And now we offer you a unique video that was recorded during my visit to the test site in 2001. All of the above items have been lifted off the ground. From this it can be concluded that almost nothing has changed at the test site for 14 years. Operator Khasen Omarkulov.

In general, you can find a lot of information about the Renaissance Island on the network. It's all scattered around, however, and due to the complete lack of official data, the ghost landfill has been overgrown with a myriad of speculations of all kinds, sometimes the most incredible. So first of all I would like to comment on what we shot. I apologize for the not very good quality of the screenshots from the video, however it should be noted that it is unique. The internal structure of the main laboratory complex is filmed here in detail. Perhaps this will somehow provide information about what work was carried out on the landfill.

So the path to the practice site begins on the former Kulandy peninsula, where there is a large aul and a horse farm, which is quite large for these forgotten places. Camels are also bred here

It is known that the main experiments with weapons of mass destruction were carried out on horses. And these horses were taken to the landfill by the Kulandy horse farm.

And this is the island of the Renaissance itself - a marina for ships and barges that delivers all kinds of cargo and fresh water here.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the landfill became the "property" of two new independent states: the pier on the island and the "Chaika" support base not far from Aralsk (now there is nothing left of it - the local residents smashed it stone by stone) went to Kazakhstan. The airfield, administrative and laboratory areas of the test site became part of the territory of Uzbekistan.

In fact, our looters operated with impunity on the territory of a neighboring country. The landfill had been nearly 10 years old since 1992 when the staff was evacuated from there and was not guarded by anyone.

By the way, we got there after agreeing to the "foreman" of the local stalkers. There was only one condition - not to remove it. Two teams dismantled the landfills - one worked on the island, the second took out building materials, pipes, diesel fuel and other useful things towards Aralsk. Local fishermen in their old motor boats transported all of this across the strait. In 2001 it took about three hours to sail on it. The island was connected to the mainland sometime in 2009. The stalkers had at least two highly passable trucks - a three-axle Ural on Kulandy and an old GAZ-66 abandoned by the military on the island. Its stalkers brought it back to working order and brought spare parts to the island.

The range was covered by military boats.

Project T-368 patrol boat with serial number 79 was built in 1973. This is one of the modifications of the Soviet torpedo boats. Enterprise G-4306 - Sosnovsky Shipyard. Located in the town of Sosnovka, Kirov region in the Russian Federation. The facility is located on the bank of the Vyatka River, a tributary of the Volga. Apparently the boat came to the Aral Sea by train from one of the Caspian ports.

And fresh water was delivered to Vozrozhdenie Island on these self-propelled barges.

Landfill administrative zone.

A mysterious room with a very complex air intake and ventilation system. It can be assumed that there were powerful diesel generators here. Apparently they provided energy for the landfill.

Alley with street lighting in the administrative area.

The remains of a powerful compressor.

The building was built in 1963.

It was an officers' club and a part-time cinema. In general, the history of the test site began in the distant 30s, when an expedition led by the famous Russian bacteriologist Ivan Velikanov landed on the island of Vozrozhdenie. His job was to investigate the possibility of using the bubonic plague as a means of destroying enemy personnel. As a result, the Japanese invaders were very successful in China and carried out absolutely monstrous experiments on the people there. Professor Velikanov was arrested by the NKVD in 1937 and restricted to work until the beginning of the Cold War. So there are, so to speak, several cultural layers at the test site.

Polygon connection nodes.

There was a military hospital and polyclinic on the island of Vozrozhdeniye.

Arch at the entrance to the landfill residential area.

A two-story kindergarten building. Military microbiologists lived on Renaissance Island with their wives and children.

Residential area of ​​the landfill - solid houses made of silicate bricks. They are best preserved.

View of the administrative area from the roof of a residential building. The soldiers' barracks and the main building are visible.

The administrative zone also consisted of the same type of single-story panel houses.

Apparently, biological weapons research peaked in the late 1970s and early 1980s. At that time, according to various estimates, the number of military specialists and their family members permanently living on the Renaissance Island reached 1,500 people. The most comfortable environment for this time and under these conditions was created for these people. You were in a very ambiguous position. First, the Soviet Union joined the so-called Nixon Pact in 1972. This international document prohibited the research, development and testing of all types of weapons of mass destruction based on biological weapons. However, the research was carried out in secret in both the United States and the USSR.

The stool remained on the balcony of the officer's apartment. The 92nd year the landfill was closed by presidential decree turned into a real disaster for the people who worked on the island. The evacuation of the staff went so quickly that the military threw all bulky items into their apartments - furniture, televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, etc. It is likely that people were promised an early return to the island, but it never happened. And everything most valuable went to the looters. In addition to the personal items of the military, stores for fuel and lubricants, vehicles and much more were abandoned on the site. True, as they say, stalkers, food supplies turned out to be unsuitable for consumption as they were covered with chlorine and filled with lysol. Before leaving the test site, the military carried out a large-scale disinfection of all facilities.

And these are the dungeons of the main laboratory complex. There were powerful autoclaves for temperature treatment of devices.

Everything was washed and washed in ordinary cast iron bathtubs, except for two taps with cold and hot water, but a third was connected to a disinfectant.

These ominous structures are called "jet chambers". The principle was as follows: the room was divided into two parts - "dirty" and "clean". Both could only be reached through a sanitary inspection room with a disinfection shower. A closure was opened in one part of the chamber and a cage with a test animal was wound up there along special guides. Then the closure was closed and the animal was infected with a biological agent in the form of an aerosol. Then the specialists took the cage from the "dirty" side and then monitored the course of the disease.

"Explosion chambers" are located on the second floor of the complex in a completely isolated room with sealed doors.

And this room is a "stone pocket" - three sanitary control rooms lead to a room without a window.

There is a type 5 K-NZh camera, number 254, released in 1974. Such devices are used to work with radioactive materials. The specialists from "Aralsk-7" apparently adapted it for biological experiments.

Materials for experiments were fed into the chamber through this shutter.

Biohazard sign on the airtight door on the second floor.

The packaging of biological agents was most likely carried out in these cabinets. For example, it could be a vaccine against a particularly dangerous infection.

And that is perhaps the most interesting picture! On the door of another "stone bag" it says: "Dangerous! T - 37, T +27". Experts say that a temperature of minus 37 degrees Celsius is optimal for storing bubonic plague strains and plus 27 for anthrax or anthrax spores. This is, to some extent, an explanation of what exactly they were working with at the test site. The graffiti in the upper left corner of the door is already a new "cultural layer". The stalkers left him.

The military left the training area so quickly that they did not even have time to "cover their tracks" and left plaques with the names and initials of those responsible for this or that area.

Officer A. V. Mironin was in charge of the male hygiene inspection.

And for the dangerous stove No. 6 VP Dushaev. One can only guess what was burned in this furnace.

And here is another strange inscription. Conscripts also worked in the laboratory. They are now 46 years old. Probably they could tell a lot about this place, but apparently they are under an almost lifelong non-disclosure agreement.

The space for experiments - a thick window like in a nuclear power plant, a centrifuge, a bathtub and a steel box of unknown purpose with a strong lock. Everything is painted in an unpleasant protective color.

This is what the main laboratory complex looks like from the inside ...

... but like this - outside ...

What else do we know about this mysterious place?

From the 95th to the 98th, an American reconnaissance mission visited Renaissance Island to collect the maximum amount of data and samples from the test site. The American side made 6 million dollars available to the Uzbek authorities for this purpose.

And a little more information about the landfill. In 2002-2003, a group of specialists from the Kazakh Scientific Center for Quarantine and Zoonotic Infections (which, incidentally, is under the auspices of the United States) landed on the island of Vozrozhdenie to look for anthrax burials. However, the results of the expedition were immediately classified. Some type of work was most likely carried out there until 2008, when Uzbekistan, again with American money and under sensitive American leadership, allegedly searched for oil and gas deposits in the island's area. Similar surveys were carried out by the Kazakh side. When nothing was found there, the topic was closed.

According to reports, the work was not associated with the nave

Rescued

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23 years ago, Russian President Boris Yeltsin closed one of the most secret military facilities in the Soviet Union by decree. It was located in an extremely remote and sparsely populated region, at that time still a huge country - on an island in the center of the Aral Sea, which is still called Island B ...

The closed military town of Kantubek (Aralsk-7) is a residential area "PNIL-52" (field research laboratory), in which 1,500 people lived.
In addition to scientists testing biological weapons and their families, there was also military unit 04061.

The military town of Kantubek (Aralsk-7), which was built in the northern Kazakh part of the island, is a typical military settlement of the Soviet era. More than a thousand people lived here permanently - military biologists (who are more reminiscent of the officers of the chemical troops), representatives of the special services, their families.

It also housed a landfill service regiment (military unit 25484).
According to memoirs, the regiment comprised 7 companies by the end of 1991. The officers for the gravity were counted for two a year of service on the island. The selection of soldiers for service in this and similar military-biological units of the Soviet Army was thorough and targeted. Only people who had a "responsible" profession before the army were caught - dispatchers, plumbers, electrical fitters, etc. The range of places from which these people were called was also limited - large cities (Moscow, Kiev, Sverdlovsk, etc.) ), in which the disappearance of a single person could not be noticed.

In Kantubek, an infrastructure developed on a Soviet scale was created that is necessary for its autonomous existence - a school, a kindergarten, a stadium, a cinema, a trade network and public catering. The city turned out to be large: more than a dozen three-story apartment buildings, officers' houses, soldiers' and officers' clubs.

Particularly dangerous tests were not carried out on the island of Vozrozhdenie, but on the island of Constantine in the south, a few kilometers away.
The placement of people's homes in the north and the test site in the south of the island of Vozrozhdeniye is related to the direction of the prevailing winds - from north to south. Unfortunately there were exceptions.

A stud farm was built on the Kulandy Peninsula especially for the military. Some horses experimented while others took the blood needed to make a nutrient medium for breeding dangerous strains. Corpses of horses were buried in remote areas of the island.

The company's own "Barkhan" airfield enabled direct and covered flight communication with every point in the Soviet Union. Large planes landed and took off every day. Objects for experiments were brought under guard and unloaded - in monkeys and other animals.
The sea traffic passed through a special port in Convenient Bay near the military town.

A particular deficit for the inhabitants of the island was imported water, the supply of which was strictly categorized: the best went to the officers and their families, the worst to the soldiers of the first year of service. Experts who took part in the tests at the end of the tests (on-site and from the "mainland") were quarantined on the island for a month.

Military patrol boats cruised around the island. The laboratory building and the landfill were fenced off from the curious by two rows of barbed wire.
Drivers, pilots and geologists talked about the strictest ban on crossing the boundaries of the zone in the Aral Sea. For many years, the cities of Muynak and Kungrad were closed to foreigners, preventing the secret service from obtaining samples of the air, soil and water to analyze the contents of biological and chemical weapons. There were strict rules on the Renaissance island itself. It was divided into sectors and each required its own access.

As a disguise, the island's workers were assigned to the Kazakh city of Aralsk. At the same location in Aralsk was a military unit, which also included a regiment for the maintenance of the training area. In Sergiev Posad, however, even higher military commanders were stationed.

Samples for biological tests were delivered to the island from all points of the VBC - Kirov and Sverdlovsk, Omutninsk and Sergiev Posad, Obolensk and Koltsovo. Even American biological ammunition ended up at the test site.

The spectrum of experimental pathogens was also broad - these were bacteria (anthrax, tularemia, brucellosis, plague) and rickettsiae (typhoid, Q fever) as well as viruses (smallpox, Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis) and toxins (botulism toxin and others)). Among other things, the most aggressive pathogens on the island were tested, including specially developed strains that are resistant to antibiotics and can overcome the immune defenses of the residents of the states of a potential enemy. All imaginable animal species - horses, sheep, donkeys, and even specially imported monkeys - were used as test subjects.

In 1982-1983, a tularemia-based biological weapon capable of penetrating the immune defenses of a potential enemy was tested on the island of Vozrozhdenie. It was developed in Omutninsk by K.B. Alibekov. In the summer of 1982, the tests were directed by Generals A. A. Vorobyov ("Biopreparat") and V. A. Lebedinsky (15th Directorate of the General Staff). As a result of testing 20 special ammunition on 500 experimental monkeys (they were brought from Africa by the African Foreign Trade Ministry of the USSR), almost all previously vaccinated monkeys died. However, representatives of the army requested it to be repeated, and in the 1983 summer season the experiments were repeated more correctly. After the tests, the monkeys' bodies were cremated.
Trials with the last, most effective formulation of anthrax were carried out in 1987.

"... The base was evacuated in the early 1990s. Urgent. In an hour and a half. By plane. There was half-drunk coffee on the tables, half-read newspapers, the curtains in the open windows floating alone in the wind ...

Laboratories, houses, backyards, and marinas were empty. And then the sea went. And at the point of the bay where the pier ended, a salt marsh was formed. The gaping holes in the windows of the laboratory building can be seen from afar above the blinding white surface of the dead bay.

The Kazakhs took a ferry across the strait to the north and pulled out all the metal they could reach from here. They tore the roof iron from the roofs, pulled out laboratory furniture "by the roots", even turned the fence net and took it out. Now there are only empty, forever abandoned rooms. Only Tarbagan marmots still live near the village ... "

For almost 45 years there was a Soviet biological weapons testing center on a godforsaken island in the middle of the Aral Sea. A residential town with a school, shops, post office, canteen, scientific laboratories and of course a test site where extensive tests of deadly biological agents such as anthrax, plague, tularemia, brucellosis and typhoid were carried out. In the early 1990s, after the collapse of the USSR, the military tossed both the city and the training site into the Aral Sands.

Source:

1. In the late 1920s, the Red Army Command of Workers and Peasants was concerned about the choice of a location for a scientific center for the development of biological weapons and a test site. The task of extending the proletarian revolution around the world was still on the agenda, and grenades with deadly loads could accelerate the building of a state of workers and peasants on a planetary level. To do this, it was necessary to choose a relatively large island at a distance of at least 5-10 kilometers from the coast. They even looked for a suitable candidate on Lake Baikal, but in the end decided to stop at three objects: the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea and the individual Gorodomlya Islands on Lake Seliger and Vozrozhdenie in the Aral Sea.

2. The main pre-war center for studying this important problem was the island of Gorodomlya in the Tver region, which was relatively close to the capital of the USSR. In the years 1936-1941, the 3rd test laboratory, the most important Soviet center for the development of biological weapons, was relocated from the Suzdal monasteries and placed under the Red Army Directorate for Military Chemicals. However, the Great Patriotic War has shown convincingly that in the future such institutions should be created with potential opponents much further from the borders of the USSR.

3. Vozrozhdenie Island was perfect for the job. This abandoned piece of land in the Aral Sea, an endless salt lake on the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, was discovered in 1848. The lifeless archipelago, in which, for unimaginable reasons, there was no fresh water, was called the Tsar's Islands and its constituent parts - the islands of Nikolai, Constantine and Erbe. It was Nikolai who was optimistically (or perhaps ironically) renamed Vozrozhdenie Island and became a top-secret Soviet base testing ground after the war to test deadly diseases put in the service of the motherland.

4. This island with an area of ​​about 200 square kilometers met all safety requirements at first glance: practically uninhabited environment, flat terrain, hot climate, unsuitable for the survival of pathogenic organisms.

5. In the summer of 1936 the first expedition of military biologists landed here under the direction of Professor Ivan Velikanov, the father of the Soviet bacteriological program. The island was removed from the jurisdiction of the NKVD, the exiled kulaks were driven from here, and the following year they tested some bioagents based on tularemia, plague and cholera. The work was made more difficult by the repression to which the leadership of the Directorate of Military Chemicals of the Red Army was subjected (for example, Velikanov was shot in 1938) and suspended during the Great Patriotic War, only to be resumed with even greater zeal after its end.

6. A military town of Kantubek with the official name Aralsk-7 was established in the northern part of the island. In general, it resembled hundreds of its other analogues that emerged in the vastness of the Soviet Union: a dozen and a half residential buildings for officers and scientific personnel, a club, a canteen, a stadium, shops, barracks and a parade ground, its own power plans. This is what Aralsk-7 looked like in the image of the American spy satellite in the late 1960s.

7. A unique "Barkhan" airfield was also built near the village, the only one in the Soviet Union that had four runways that resembled a compass rose. There is always a strong wind blowing on the island, which sometimes changes direction. Depending on the current weather, the planes landed on one lane or the other.

8. In total there were up to one and a half thousand soldiers and their families. Indeed, it was an ordinary garrison life, the characteristics of which were perhaps the special secrecy of the establishment and the not very pleasant climate. Children went to school, their parents went to work, in the evenings they watched films in the officers' house and on weekends they went on picnics on the shores of the Aral Sea, which until the mid-1980s looked like the sea.

10. Kantubek at the time of its heyday. There was a sea connection with the closest city on the "mainland", Aralsk. Fresh water was also supplied here by barges, which were then stored in special huge tanks on the outskirts of the village.

12. A few kilometers from the village a laboratory complex (PNIL-52 - the 52nd field research laboratory) was built in which, among other things, test animals were kept, which were the main victims of the tests carried out here. The scope of the research is illustrated by the following fact. In the 1980s, a batch of 500 monkeys were bought especially for them in Africa through the USSR Ministry of Foreign Trade. All of them eventually fell victim to the tularemia microbial strain, after which their bodies were cremated and the resulting ashes were buried on the island.

13. The southern part of the island was occupied by the actual test site. Here mussels were blown up or pathogenic strains due to anthrax, plague, tularemia, Q fever, brucellosis, glands and other particularly dangerous infections as well as a large number of artificially produced biological agents were sprayed from an airplane. (Photo clickable)

14. The location of the test site in the south was determined by the type of wind prevailing on the island. The aerosol cloud formed as a result of the test, a weapon of mass destruction, was blown away by the wind in the direction opposite to the military city, after which epidemiological measures and the decontamination of the territory were carried out unconditionally. A hot climate with a regular forty-degree heat was an additional factor that ensured the safety of military biologists: most bacteria and viruses died with prolonged exposure to high temperatures. All specialists participating in the tests were also quarantined.